Canyon de Chelly’s Colors, Silence and Textures Create Seductive Magic

Posted By Mike Padgett

Oct. 8, 2009

CHINLE, Ariz. – Time, with its tools of wind and rain, has created giant sandstone tapestries draping the sheer cliffs at Canyon de Chelly.

This maze of meandering canyons with about 400 prehistoric ruins – some dating to 2500 B.C. – is near the middle of the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, covering 131 square miles, was established in 1931 by President Herbert Hoover.

We recently visited the Navajo Reservation. We checked in at the Holiday Inn Canyon de Chelly in Chinle and immediately drove the few miles to the Spider Rock Overlook, arriving before sunset. There were no crowds, no airports, no noise. Only a gentle breeze and the perfume of juniper and sagebrush. There were few other visitors. Everyone spoke softly or in awed whispers, if at all. It felt like a holy site. We can learn much here, looking down at Chinle Wash, a tributary of the Little Colorado River.

We stood and watched the boundary between sunset and darkness climb Spider Rock, like water rising on an 800-foot sandstone monolith. It stands at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Canyon.

One could make the argument that as the stone spire has survived the eroding effects of wind and rain, the Navajo people have weathered their generations of challenges.

The altitude at the Spider Rock Overlook is about 7,000 feet, up from 5,500 feet at the visitor center a few miles back down the road.

In Navajo lore, the top of Spider Rock is the home of Spider Woman. She is credited with teaching Navajo ancestors how to weave on a loom. She also is said to be fond of disobedient children, whom she would devour. The white at the top of the tower is, according to legend, the sun-bleached bones of children.

There are several overlooks on the south and north sides of the canyon. The walls of sandstone, which are petrified sand dunes, are several hundred feet high. Their sandstone stripes are various shades of red, tan and brown. Vertical grooves in the walls were cut by eons of seasonal streams.

In this painting come to life, ravens add black flourishes in the skies. They drift on the updrafts, claw playfully at each other, and soar straight up as they approach the canyon walls.

Juniper trees grow along the canyon’s edges. Some of the blue-green trees are rooted in the cracks of the red stone. Other trees lean, sculpted by the wind.

A few of the trees died long ago, but their sun-scorched skeletons stand like natural wood sculptures.

In the canyon, most of the Fremont cottonwood trees lining Chinle Wash were planted by the National Park Service, starting in 1931, to reduce erosion.

Eventually, after sunset, only the dark outline of Spider Rock could be seen against the stars. The quiet was powerful. No traffic. No sirens. No cellphones. Only the distant bawling of a cow. We were the last ones to leave the Spider Rock Overlook.

The next morning, I returned to the overlooks. On the canyon floor, the meandering dry riverbed was lined with the tracks of Jeeps and other four-wheel-drive vehicles. In the distance was a World War II-era military transport vehicle filled with tourists.

Horses grazing deep in the canyon were invisible, until they moved. Could they be descendants of horses ridden into the Southwest by Spanish conquistadors in the late 1700s?

Plots of land on the canyon floor had been plowed, and maybe planted, for the next rain. Someone was driving a small tractor next to the plowed land. On the other side of the canyon floor was a traditional hogan surrounded by a shade structure.

The overlooks offer views of the White House Ruin in Canyon de Chelly and the Mummy Cave Ruin in Canyon del Muerto. Mummy Cave, according to archeologists, was occupied between 200 and 1300. Canyon del Muerto was “named when an 1882 Smithsonian expedition uncovered prehistoric Indian burials,” according to “Arizona Highways Photography Guide.”

Using a zoom lens, I photographed the White House Ruin, wondering about the lives of the last occupants. I thought about their daily chores, ceremonies and challenges. I thought about their encounters with Spanish conquistadors and other explorers. I wondered, could I have been an explorer?

I stopped at most of the overlooks on the south rim of the canyon. It was a weekday morning drive, so I had most of the views to myself. At the Tsegi (pronounced SAY-ih) Overlook, a young man seated next to his painted sandstone artworks greeted me. He introduced himself as Antonio Carroll. He said he lived near White House Ruin. He is working on his home nearby.

He volunteered to describe the meanings of the symbols on his paintings. “It’ll only take a minute and a half,” he says. The intoxicating magic of his world and his friendly nature made it impossible to refuse.

Carroll said he learned the stories from his grandmother. I bought one of his paintings. He wrapped it in a newspaper from Gallup, N.M. Then he invited me to take his photograph. He held two artist brushes in his right hand.

At the Tunnel Overlook, two other artist vendors greeted me. Their wares were spread out on blankets. I stepped over or around the artists’ three sleeping dogs, prone on the concrete.

Some feature stories are easy to write, based on the topic. The same rule applies to studying Canyon de Chelly through a camera lens. This canyon country inspires good photography.

The colors and textures merge into a seductive beauty to create powerful vistas. They demand attention.

The walls speak of patience. They say slow down, decelerate, decompress. Days later, as we left the region, a cold front started bringing in lower temperatures. Winter was approaching. The canyon, with its history and magic, whispered, “You’ll be back.”

For more information, visit www.nps.gov/cach.

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Oct 8th, 2009
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Colliers International’s Phoenix Office Issues Solar Energy Report

Posted By Mike Padgett

Oct. 5, 2009

PRESS RELEASE

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Colliers International‘s Phoenix division has published a comprehensive examination of the solar energy industry in Arizona titled, “Solar Energy Network: Partners for Change.” The 40-page report was a unique collaboration between Colliers and more than 25 public and private sector experts and visionaries who are playing a critical role in creating a renewable energy future in Arizona.

The report was compiled by Matt Fitz-Gerald, team leader for Colliers Solar Energy Network in Phoenix.

“Arizona will become the major solar energy hub of the Southwest United States,” Fitz-Gerald said. “Arizona has the business infrastructure, trained and available workforce, economic climate, and tax and investment incentives to attract solar energy companies and provide them with a competitive edge.”

Fitz-Gerald said the Solar Energy Network report illustrates the advantageous cooperation between the public, government, university, nonprofit, and private industry sectors to support renewable energy initiatives and programs.

The overriding theme of the report is that Arizona is poised to become the leader in solar energy. ASU President Michael M. Crow states, “Our success will require a hybrid public-private partnership model and a policy-driven market approach. Comprehensive regional planning must dovetail with sound fiscal policies and strategic investment in infrastructure, all focused on one common objective—positioning Arizona as the epicenter of the solar industry.”

Governor Jan Brewer outlines the state’s initiatives. “The Arizona Department of Commerce Energy Office will utilize a portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act energy funding to launch a public buildings solar initiative and a grant program to demonstrate commercially viable renewable energy and energy efficient products manufactured in Arizona. By continuing to foster a solar industry that will someday become an economic force of great significance, Arizona will diversify its economy, grow green jobs, and better the environment for the citizens of this great State.”

Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), says there are many reasons why Arizona should be a premier solar location. For example:

• Arizona has one of the most aggressive renewable energy standards in the U.S., requiring Arizona’s electric utilities to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.

• Proximity to California (the world’s fourth largest solar market) and Mexico enables broad distribution capabilities to transport manufactured solar goods and allow for the import and export of renewable energy through transmission.

• ASU is home to the world’s first school of sustainability, as well as renowned solar power and photovoltaic testing laboratories. TÜV Rheinland Photovoltaic Testing Laboratory, in collaboration with Arizona State University, established the premier performance testing and safety certification organization globally for photovoltaic technology.

• The Governor signed Senate Bill 1403, the Renewable Industries Bill in July 2009, to encourage investment in Arizona by renewable energy companies. SB1403 will provide qualified companies with a refundable income tax credit and a reduction in property taxes.

Report contributors from the public and governmental sectors include Arizona Governor Jan Brewer; Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon; Barry Broome of GPEC; Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Kristin Mayes; Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow; Northern Arizona University President John D. Haeger; University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton; and the Arizona Institute of Renewable Energy at ASU.

Also participating were experts from public utilities and nonprofit renewable energy associations, including Salt River Project; Arizona Public Service; Tucson Electric Power; Science Foundation Arizona Solar Technology Institute; Arizona Economic Resource Organization; and Arizona Solar Energy Association.

Leading renewable energy companies also contributed, including TÜV Rheinland PTL; REC Solar; CarbonFree Technology Corp.; BrightSource Energy; SolFocus; SolarCity; Global Solar Energy; Solon Corp.; and Wilson Electric.

To view or download the Solar Energy Network report on-line, visit www.colliers.com/phoenix. For more information, contact Mary Beth Campbell at 602-222-5083 or marybeth.campbell@colliers.com.

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Oct 5th, 2009

Ken Burns’ Saga on America’s National Parks Airing This Week

Posted By Mike Padgett

Sept. 26, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Where’s my backpack? A hike in our national forests is at the top of my list of things to do, and soon. I watched the Grand Canyon’s colors come alive during a brisk November sunrise, and I enjoyed hiking among the ancient redwood giants in the Muir Woods National Monument north of San Francisco.

Now, I would like a wintry encounter with a bison in Yellowstone National Park. I want to admire the massive animal in subzero weather and see its breath crystallize on its whiskers. I want to hike in Yosemite National Park in the fall.

I would like to visit Death Valley National Park in California (in December) and hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

We watched a preview of Ken Burns’ new 12-hour documentary series on America’s National Parks. It was broadcast live Sept. 23 from New York City’s Central Park to PBS stations in 50 cities.

Watching Burns’ preview reminded me of the healing powers of a walk through the woods, allowing nature’s wonders to erase mental stress.

The six-part saga, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” was more than six years in the making. The programs premiere Sept. 27 on PBS and run nightly through Oct. 2.

Burns, in his historical focus on our national parks, points out how Americans – from national figures and philanthropists, to local citizens and community groups – kept some of our nation’s most beautiful regions out of the hands of residential and commercial developers. Can you imagine McMansions on the rim of the Grand Canyon, gated communities in Yellowstone, or garish big-box stores in Zion National Park?

In his presentation, Burns introduced actor Lee Stetson, who read the words of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and a man Stetson called “the poet and prophet of the American wilderness.”

Stetson said Muir, during his travels in the outdoors, “believed he was witnessing the work and presence of God, not the stern and wrathful God of his father, who placed Man above Nature, but a God who revealed Himself through Nature.”

Not everyone will enjoy the series, judging from a review in The New York Times. Viewers who want to see crowds probably won’t appreciate the 12-hour series because it has few people in it, according to the Times review. I know crowds pack the national parks. And why not? All Americans are co-owners of the parks. And crowds are why I avoid the parks during high-demand months. I prefer visits during off-peak times, when crowds are much smaller.

Burns later introduced park ranger Shelton Johnson. He grew up in inner-city Detroit. Johnson said one of his jobs in Yellowstone was delivering mail on a snowmobile. He described the awe he felt when he came upon several bison crossing a snow-covered road. He turned off his machine to savor the experience.

“And I was all alone but I felt I was in the presence of everything around me, and I was never alone,” Johnson said. “It was one of those moments when you get pulled outside of yourself into the environment around you.”

Johnson talked about President Theodore Roosevelt’s interest in the outdoors. He said Roosevelt, while he was president, once camped for three days with Muir in Yosemite.

At the Grand Canyon, Roosevelt was so moved by what he saw that he proposed it be made into a national park.

“When Congress at first refused to make it a national park, Roosevelt invoked his powers under the Antiquities Act and with a stroke of his pen, named it a national monument,” Johnson said.

He said that while Roosevelt was president, he created five new national parks, 51 federal sanctuaries, four national game refuges, 18 national monuments and more than 100 million acres of national forests.

“For Roosevelt, national parks represented America and American democracy at its best,” Johnson said.

Burns also introduced Dayton Duncan, the co-producer of the series, its author and the source of the idea for the PBS series.

“The real story of the National Parks is more than the story’s spectacular landscapes and wild nature,” Duncan said. “It is a story of the people who fell in love with those places and then decided that everyone else, people they would never know and never meet, should have the same chance to have the same transcendent experience. So they dedicated themselves to the place that they loved as a national park.

“They are American heroes. Some of them, like John Muir, were famous and used their fame to draw attention to their cause. Some like Theodore Roosevelt were politically powerful, and used that power for the common good.

“Some were wealthy philanthropists like John D. Rockefeller Jr., who devoted part of his fortune to buying land and then giving it away to the people of the United States to become Acadia National Park in Maine and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming,” Duncan said.

Others devoted to saving rare lands for permanent enjoyment were local residents and groups. “Virginia McClurg and Lucy Peabody and their women’s clubs in Colorado saved the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde. Lloyd Miller and Juanita Greene and Lancelot Jones, whose father had risen up from slavery, were instrumental in preserving the last pristine islands of southern Florida as Biscayne National Park,” Duncan said.

Burns introduced Gerard Baker, a Native American who has been with the National Park Service for more than 30 years. Today, Baker is the first Native American Superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota.

“America’s story is everyone’s story, from the stories of the first people who inhabited the country from time immemorial, to the stories of those who came to a new land seeking a new home,” Baker said.

“The history of the United States has many faces and many perspectives, and it does not belong to one group or one gender or one race,” Baker said. “It belongs to everyone.”

Burns returned to the stage for his final comments, after a preview that lasted more than an hour.

“In America,” he said, “the most beautiful and sacred places in the land should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, not for one group of people or another. In America, the national parks are for everyone. That is America’s best idea.”

Between the commentaries by his guests, Burns introduced several singers. They included Gavin DeGraw; Alison Kraus and Union Station; Eric Benet; Carole King; and Jose Feliciano.

The final song, “This Land is Your Land,” was performed by Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary. Mary Travers died Sept. 16. She was 72.

Educators are encouraged to visit the PBS Web site, www.pbs.org/nationalparks, and study the lesson plans. Although the activities are designed for grades seven through 10, they could be adapted to other age groups. Go to the Web site and click on “Educators.”

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Sep 26th, 2009
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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Replica in Phoenix Expected to Draw Thousands

Posted By Mike Padgett

Sept. 18. 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – A three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial is on display this weekend at Phoenix Memorial Park and Mortuary in north Phoenix.

Since it was created in 1990, the traveling Dignity Memorial Vietnam Wall – inscribed with the names of more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers who died in Vietnam – has been displayed in more than 200 U.S. cities.

The memorial arrived Tuesday in its custom-painted semi truck, which was escorted to the cemetery by motorcycle riders organized by Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson.

On Wednesday, volunteers from DI Specialty Contracting and Pulte Homes assembled the exhibit at the cemetery at 200 W. Beardsley Road. The black, mirror-like exhibit is 240 feet long and eight feet high.

The exhibit was reserved Thursday for viewing by Valley school children. It was opened to the public Friday, 24 hours a day.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, a special POW/MIA ceremony by members of VFW Post 9400 Men’s Auxiliary is scheduled. The number of U.S. soldiers missing in action in Vietnam is 2,338. The number of prisoners of war is 766, including the 114 who died in captivity, according to www.vietnam-war.info/facts.

On Sunday, closing ceremonies begin at 2:45 p.m. The park will be closed at sunset.

A complete schedule of the exhibit’s Phoenix visit is on the memorial’s Web site, dmvw2009.webs.com.

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Sep 18th, 2009
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Yuma, Flagstaff Join Arizona’s ‘Sun Corridor’ Economic Growth Program

Posted By Mike Padgett

PRESS RELEASE

Sept. 17, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. –The Greater Yuma Economic Development Corp. and the city of Flagstaff have joined Phoenix and Tucson in bringing jobs to Arizona’s Sun Corridor, a move that aligns the state’s key metro markets under a common goal.

The addition of the two groups strengthens the effort to recruit high-wage industries from California such as aerospace, solar and renewable energy and bioscience.

The economic development program, “Arizona Sun Corridor: Open for Business,” began earlier this year through a partnership between the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc. The program’s goal is to attract high-wage industries to the Sun Corridor, a megapolitan projected as one of the 10 U.S. markets expected to see most of the nation’s growth in the next 35 years.

“We joined the Sun Corridor program because of the synergistic effort between Arizona communities, both metro and rural,” said Stacey Button, Economic Vitality director for the city of Flagstaff. “Being a part of this alliance gives us leverage and creates awareness for companies that may not know about the uniqueness of the Flagstaff region.”

Flagstaff hopes to relocate companies that complement the city’s existing low-impact high-wage industries, such as W.L. Gore, Southwest Windpower, and TGEN North, which is the northern Arizona campus of Translational Genomics Research Institute, based in central Phoenix.

Julie Engel, president and CEO of Greater Yuma EDC, said working through a consortium makes sense in today’s economic climate. The partnership allows the groups to operate more efficiently by pooling resources.

“We (the state and our regions) have a great story to tell and this offers us a venue to share that story,” said Engel, who recently traveled with GPEC to Los Angeles as part of the job-recruitment effort. “Attempting this strategy alone could never happen with our limited resources.”

The trip into Los Angeles included Queen Creek Mayor Art Sanders, the seventh Valley mayor to represent Greater Phoenix as part of the initiative. The delegation met with two renewable energy companies and one healthcare firm representing 160 jobs.

“Two of the companies we met with were extremely interested in the Arizona market due to the state’s renewable energy standard, the new tax incentive and the variety of assets the state has to support renewable infrastructure,” Sanders said.

So far, GPEC and TREO have led several sales missions into California. TREO has conducted six and anticipates two more this month. GPEC has conducted five, with a mission planned at the end of the month with Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers.

For more information, contact:

• Laura Shaw, TREO senior vice president, marketing and communications, 520-243-1940, laura.shaw@treoaz.org

• Kristina Justin, GPEC communications director, 480-286-8933, kjustin@gpec.org

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Sep 17th, 2009
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Foreclosures Still Flooding Metro Phoenix Housing Market

Posted By Mike Padgett

PRESS RELEASE

TEMPE, Ariz. – More homes are being sold in the Phoenix area now than last year, but the market is still flooded with foreclosures. That’s according to the latest Realty Studies report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The report shows one foreclosure happening for every two regular home resales in the Valley last month.

“A recovery cannot really be established until foreclosure activity drops to historical levels, which would be about one foreclosure for every 20 regular home resales,” says Associate Professor of Real Estate Jay Butler, who compiled the report. “Owner-occupants will have to become the primary driving force again. Right now, the market is driven by investors looking for a deal and the potential of great appreciation.”

About 6,000 Valley homes were resold and about 3,100 foreclosed on in August this year. That’s actually down from the volume of 7,300 resales and 4,200 foreclosures recorded in July. However, it’s way up from just over 4,200 resales and about 3,300 foreclosures in the Phoenix area last August.

“Historically, August usually represents the end of the resale home season, when sales and median prices tend to increase,” says Butler. “The fundamental question is whether sales will stay strong, driven by the foreclosure-related market, or start to move down, which is traditional for the end of the year. If the latter occurs, it could represent a preliminary signal that the market is beginning a return to normalcy.”

Still, Butler believes that tight underwriting standards, a weak economy and a poor job market could continue to place severe obstacles before the market’s potential. He expects that many eliminated jobs are not going to come back, and more people’s unemployment benefits will start to run out, prompting them to go into foreclosure on their homes.

His report says the median price of homes resold in the Phoenix area in August was $139,000, down 29 percent from the year before. Some expensive homes are also being foreclosed on, including 17 worth more than $1 million. Butler explains that this is likely because most loan modification programs are designed for homes under $400,000.

Butler’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be read at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/realestate/Phoenix-Resale-Market-Reports.cfm.

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Sep 15th, 2009
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Teddy Bears Join Visitors at a Healing Field in Arizona

Posted By Mike Padgett

Sept. 11, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz. – A visitor in a Department City of New York (FDNY) t-shirt stops to read the card on one of 3,000 American flags in a Healing Field honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.She stopped at one flag to read about a victim. She continued walking and stopping, then walking and stopping, across the field of healing.

Visitors walked down the rows of flags, stopping occasionally to hold in their hands the yellow ribbons and the cards attached to the flags. On the cards were the names of those who died in the attacks. One little boy pointed to a teddy bear left at the foot of one flag. Some visitors left teddy bears with the flags.

In another row, a man was kneeling before a flag. He placed one hand, then his forehead, on the flag’s pole. He was silent.

A gentle breeze gave life to the flags, creating a green field covered in red, white and blue.

The flags will fly at Tempe Beach Park through Sept. 13. The annual memorial is open to the public. Visit www.healingfield.org for more information.

(The above information was updated by the author.)

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Sep 11th, 2009
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New Arizona Company Completing High-Profile Commercial Developments

Posted By Mike Padgett

Sept. 10, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Former Opus West executives Jamie Godwin and Craig Zupancic have formed a commercial real estate consulting firm with a subsidiary offering a variety of contractor services.

The consulting firm is The Richard Solomon Group, or RSG. Its services include process development, operational management, design and engineering management, and project and program management.

The company’s contractor subsidiary is RSG Builders LLC, a licensed design-build and general contracting division offering services for office, retail, industrial, multifamily and institutional properties.

One of RSG’s major projects to date ­is a 93,000-square-foot tenant improvement contract at Pima Center, at Via de Ventura and Loop 101 Freeway. The 209-acre mixed-use business park is immediately east of Scottsdale on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The original design-build contractor was unable to complete the First American Title Co. project. RSG reworked the contract with the owner and the lender and kept the project on schedule.

RSG Builders’ other projects include:

• Tempe Gateway, a 270,700-square-foot, $49.3 million mixed-use development at 222 S. Mill Ave. The development is next to the corporate headquarters of US Airways in downtown Tempe, Ariz. RSG worked with US Bank and the court-appointed receiver, CB Richard Ellis, to complete the eight-story office building with retail on the ground floor, a parking structure with 1,107 spaces, and improvements connecting the Tempe Gateway to an adjacent Valley Metro Light Rail stop at Mill Avenue and Third Street. Substantial completion is expected by the start of fourth quarter.

• Mill Crossing, a 170,000-square-foot, $12.5 million retail center at the southwest corner of Gilbert and Germann roads in Chandler. Retained by developer Southwest Gateway Inc., RSG is provide consulting services and project management for the completion of 43,000 square feet of shop space; tenant improvements for a Shoe Carnival and a Sears Appliance Store; and site work on 17 acres for an October grand opening by anchor JCPenney.

La Siena, 909 E. Northern Ave., Phoenix, and McDowell Village, 8300 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale. RSG is converting select units in the independent living communities to meet Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications.

• Chandler Airport Center. RSG has entered into a design-build construction contract with the project’s owner for an expansion of the existing parking lot to accommodate approximately 100 additional vehicles. The contract includes the design, permitting and construction of the surface parking lot expansion at the recently constructed office development located on Northrop Boulevard, adjacent to the Loop 202/Santan Freeway in Chandler.

RSG’s offices are at 5055 E. Washington St. in Phoenix, in a new building developed by Irgens Development Partners in Milwaukee, Wis.

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Sep 10th, 2009
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Rider Levett Bucknall Challenging Approaches to ‘Green Building’ Concepts

Posted By Mike Padgett

PRESS RELEASE

Sept. 9, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Global property and construction consultant Rider Levett Bucknall is challenging owners and builders to rethink their approach to green building practices. While sustainable design standards such as LEED, BREEAM and Green Star are a welcome step in the right direction, they only deal with part of what is a much larger problem.

“When considering a new construction project, the real question should be: why are we using finite resources? What are the alternatives?” said Julian Anderson, president of Rider Levett Bucknall. “We are witnessing a new ‘Age of Environmental Thrift,’ where the industry should be considering how the same outcome could be achieved using less resources. This new shift emphasizes preventing waste by making better use and extending the life of existing assets.”

Rider Levett Bucknall is urging the industry to consider new and proven techniques when considering building or renovating an existing building:

• Fully evaluate the service life of a building with a view to preserve and extend its intrinsic value.

• Carefully balance capital costs with ongoing operation and maintenance costs as well as environmental impact.

• Benchmark the quality of buildings to optimize their intended use.

The company is introducing three initiatives to address the challenges faced by owners in this new environmental paradigm. In addition, Rider Levett Bucknall is offering free training on the services to U.S. Government entities, so that they can quickly realize significant cost and environmental impact savings on public projects.

Maximizing the Life of Existing Buildings

As long as a building is still standing, it retains some value. Rider Levett Bucknall has developed the RElifing® model, a mathematical tool that enables an owner to determine how much value and life remains in a building, and how much money needs to be spent to extend the life of the building to certain milestones. When this analysis is compared to the cost to build new, owners have a quantitative tool to determine an investment option that will makes the best use of financial and functional resources. RElifing® saved the State of Arizona $26 million dollars in the first six months alone and has the potential to save considerably more for other government entities or private institutional owners.

Life Cycle Cost + Carbon Modeling

The technique of analyzing the life cycle cost of a building has been practiced for many years in the energy industry and shipbuilding, but has not gained traction with most government or private building construction projects. Life Cycle Cost analysis from Rider Levett Bucknall enables an owner to compare and balance capital, operation and maintenance costs in order to develop facilities that are cost effective to build and operationally efficient over their lifespan. The analysis can also pre-estimate usage of power and water, along with the carbon footprint, to give a true indication of the environmental impact of a building.

Building Quality Assessment.

Through work done in conjunction with Massey University, Rider Levett Bucknall discovered that it is possible to measure the quality of a building; not whether it is aesthetically pleasing or in a good location, but rather if it is a good quality building compared to its peers. This assessment offers a comparative tool to evaluate the relative quality of multiple buildings and facilitate best-value decision making. Rider Levett Bucknall’s Building Quality Assessment offering evaluates building quality based on 31 standard criteria and provides a resulting ‘quality grade,’ along with recommendations to achieve benchmarked standards and identification of areas of deficiency.

“Armed with these new tools, methods and information, building owners can make well informed decisions that represent their best long-term financial and sustainable interests,” Anderson said.

About Rider Levett Bucknall

Rider Levett Bucknall offers independent, unbiased expert advice on all matters relating to the management of the cost and time of construction. As one of the largest global practices for property and construction consulting, the company consists of 2,000 professionals in 80 offices around the globe, serving the four regions of the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and EMEA. Utilizing its vast experience, professionally trained employees and pooled intellectual property across offices, the company provides cost management, project management and advisory services for a multitude of clients at the local, regional, and multinational levels. For more information, visit www.rlb.com.

Sep 9th, 2009
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Mesquite Corporate Center in Scottsdale sold for $10 million

Posted By Mike Padgett

PRESS RELEASE

Sept. 9, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – CB Richard Ellis has negotiated the sale of Mesquite Corporate Center, a class A, multi-tenant office building at 14646 N. Kierland Blvd.

Barry Gabel and Mindy Korth of CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the seller, Mesquite Corporate Partners, an Arizona LLC with offices in New Jersey, in structuring the $10 million transaction. The buyer was Mesquite Partners I LLC (a related entity to DPC Development Co.) of Greenwood Village, Colo. Justin Lutgen and Nate Schnabel of DPC Development Co. were the point-of-contacts for the buyer.

“We see Mesquite Corporate Center as one of the better assets in this submarket and feel that it will lead the other buildings in terms of occupancy and rental rates when the market turns around,” said DPC President Christopher King. “The building’s golf course exposure is very unique, offering views of the course, as well as Camelback Mountain, from 50 percent of the building.”

DPC has been looking at opportunities in and around metro Phoenix for the past eighteen months.

DPC is a Denver, Colo.-based commercial real estate owner and developer. The company owns nearly 2 million square feet of property in Colorado, Arizona and Texas.  DPC previously had invested in the Phoenix area over the past 10 years, acquiring buildings in Central Phoenix and the Camelback Corridor.  When market values peaked, DPC sold its Phoenix properties. The company once again sees substantial opportunity in the Valley’s commercial real estate market and is in the process of adding to its Arizona portfolio.

Mesquite Corporate Center is a two-story, suburban office property totaling 79,537 square feet. The building offers an attractive and professional image, including mature, lush landscaping, contemporary architecture, high-end interior finishes and a dramatic lobby with its floor-to-ceiling glass wall.

The project’s location in the mixed-use Kierland master-planned community places it close to several North Scottsdale amenities. It lies alongside the Kierland Championship Golf Course, and it is minutes from restaurants, shopping, lodging and recreation venues, including Kierland Commons, a mix of residential and office units above retail space, and the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa.

Mesquite Corporate Center was built in 1999 and developed by Trammell Crow Co. The property was 67 percent leased at the time of the sale. CBRE will continue to lease and manage the property for its new owner.

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Sep 9th, 2009
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